Even if it's never happened to you, it's definitely crossed your mind. Many parents have experienced that moment when, in the middle of getting it on, a small sound is heard on the other side of the bedroom door. Panic takes over as you realize there is no time to hide in the closet before your kiddo catches you in the act. But are you worrying over nothing? Maybe it's not as big of a deal as everyone makes it out to be. Consider this: will your child remember walking in on you having sex? Because depending on their age, the situation may be more uncomfortable for the adults than it is for the kids.
Although they may have some pretty interesting questions in the moment, busting in on you in the heat of the moment may not have the long lasting effects on kids that most parents fear. If your child is 7 years old or younger, you can put your fears of scarring them for life to rest. According to Pysch Central, the phenomenon known as childhood amnesia — which is when early memories begin to fade — happens at age seven. Which means that even if you child walks in on you having sex, chances are that time will turn that memory into an indistinguishable blur.
But just because they may not be retelling this story over Thanksgiving dinner for years to come doesn't mean you should pretend like nothing happened. Having an age appropriate chat about this situation clears up any confusion and gives you a chance to answer any questions your child may have. As sex therapist Margie Nichols told the website for CNN, "children sometimes think something violent or frightening is happening, and that should be addressed." Letting them know that you weren't being harmed or hurt, but were sharing a private moment, can ease any confusing and scary thoughts they may have.
For kids a with more maturity, it may be a good time to start an honest conversation about human sexuality. Talking it through and telling the truth shows kids that sex is nothing to be ashamed about, as Today's Parent explained. In fact, it's best to start talking to kids about sexuality in early childhood, as Planned Parenthood suggested.
Depending on how old your child is when they walk in on you having sex, they may or may not remember what they witnessed. But either way, talking to them about the situation (and remembering to turn the lock on the bedroom door) will clear the air and pave the way for more open conversations about sex and sexuality.